7 ways interviewing is like dating

1. Desperation is not attractive. When you’re seeking a job, you’re not asking someone to do a favor for you; you’re offering the company something they want in exchange for getting something you want.

2. Be choosy and deliberative and don’t just take the first thing that comes along.

3. Make your interest personal, not generic. Ask questions and express a genuine interest. Your interviewer wants to feel you want this job, not a job.

4. Use flattery. I’ll admit it, when a candidate says complimentary things about the company and the interview process, I like it. I had a candidate recently tell me that the interview process itself made him more interested in working for us, because it was rigorous enough that he could tell we really cared about getting the right fit. Is there anything more attractive than someone who values the things about us that we value about ourselves? I swooned a little bit.

5. Remember to ask if you like them, not just if they like you. Sometimes people get so hung up on getting the job offer (or the next date) that they forget to assess whether it’s even compatible with what they want.

6. Don’t badmouth your exes. If a candidate complains about a former boss, I’ll wonder if he is the problem.

7. Keep your ego in check. Be able to talk about your weaknesses in a way that shows self-awareness and humility.

{ 7 comments… read them below }

  1. GrewUpRural*

    I like this post. I just ended a long-term relationship a few months ago and am ready to start dating again. The parallels are so true.

    As an accountant for a medium-sized company, I also have HR and payroll duties for a staff of 200+. It’s amazing how desparate people come off during the interview process.

    Enjoy reading your blog!

  2. HR Wench*

    Adding on to #7 – Please remember that us HR folks know the “trick” of stating a strength is a weakness i.e. “I’m always too early” or “sometimes I work too many hours” or “I care too much about doing a good job”. Please. Just be honest. I would rather hear a genuine answer like “sometimes I take things personally” or “I’m impatient” then some crap about how overly dedicated you are.

  3. Working Girl*

    I’ve been on a bunch of interviews and had a bunch of jobs.

    One thing that always proved true: if I didn’t really want the job, if I had reservations of some sort, I invariably received an offer.

    It was the old playing-hard-to-get thing (though I wasn’t playing!).

    Oh, and I liked the comment about being honest about your faults. Is this really true? Do HR people really want honesty? Because I hate hate hate those, “My fault is that I just work too hard” answers. Ugh.

  4. Class factotum*

    What do you do if your previous boss really wasn’t that good and you are doing your best to say only kind things about him and the company but the interviewer keeps probing and probing about just why you didn’t get certain things done and it was because your boss told you more than once that he thought what you were working on was “boring” and he “just didn’t get it” (despite your attempts repeated attempts to explain it to him, but he kept cancelling your meetings or, worse, just not showing up for them). I don’t want to bad mouth my old boss — I liked him, but he was a lousy boss and that’s why he had two people of a team of 8 quit and another transfer to another dept in a six-month period.

  5. deb*

    great post! and yes, working girl, some of us want honesty. some of us do not want repetitive interviews that come straight out of the ‘how-to’ books.

    me: where do you see yourself in five years? what are your long term goals?

    you: i’d like to find a company that offers an opportunity for growth. i’d like to be at the same company, but in a position with more responsibility.

    blah blah blah (insert snoring sounds here)

    no. i want to get to know you and want you to get to know us. just like dating. and if it’s not right, it’s not right. no big deal. jobs are like buses…no wait, that’s supposed to be men…no wait….

    all the best!

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